Peace and conflict

Parliaments are likely to play a crucial role when states transition from war towards peace. Yet this role is often overlooked and very little research exists on the role of parliaments in peace processes and peacebuilding. Parliaments are an important arena for the inclusion of warring parties, and the resulting interactions could either aid or hinder the consolidation of peace. Former enemies, or their elected representatives, are expected to meet and even work together in post-conflict parliaments.

This paper reviews existing research on political trust, explaining why it is important, what we know about it, and – perhaps most importantly – what we don’t. It argues that if practitioners, such as the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, are to foster greater levels of political trust, research into that phenomenon needs to become more innovative. Researchers will need to employ a great variety of methodologies, study a broader range of cases and ask more action-oriented questions to identify what institutional actors – such as parliaments – can do to earn the public’s trust.